Midwives are in rebellion over new NHS transgender training schemes that ‘could be a repeat of the Tavistock scandal”.
NHS England is recruiting a group to run”gender inclusive training” in 40 NHS maternity services, such as language and trans-inclusive pronouns.
Sessions with up to £100,000 of taxpayer funding will also include online resources, information posters and “best practice examples of caring for trans and non-binary people giving birth”.
The provider, to be decided this month, must have “a track record in trans awareness training” and will run classes for midwives, maternity support workers, nurses and others.
But 300 doctors, nurses, midwives, psychologists and other health workers have now written to England’s NHS demanding that the plan be put on “immediate suspension” as it has “no evidence base”.
The letter to Lizzie Streeter, NHS England’s “National LGBT Program Manager” on 9 January, which has been signed by 2,000 people in total, warns: “A scandal similar to that of Tavistock could be repeated in NHS maternity services due to poor research and the influence of advocacy organisations.”
The only Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust children’s gender clinic for England is being closed by the NHSafter years of criticism for the interference of activists.
David Bell, former director of people at Tavistock, said: “As someone who was instrumental in exposing the harm done to patients by thoughtless acceptance of ideologically based claims, which had no evidence basis, I am shocked by this repetition of ideology again. passing careful examination of the evidence and little thought about possible harm.”
The tender for the new NHS England training, titled Gender Inclusion in Motherhood programme, is based on the findings of research carried out by the activist group LGBT Foundation, which was commissioned by the Department of Health and NHS bodies. in 2021 and has not been peer reviewed.
That report urged maternity services to scrap “non-inclusive language” in favor of terms like “breastfeeding” to help trans and non-binary people who are “marginalized.”
But the letter from With Woman, a group of midwives and obstetricians, claims the research contained “significant flaws,” including making “unreliable” comparisons based on its 121-person sample of trans patients and no research on medical necessity. of those people. or the impact of any changes on others.
They also told NHS chiefs that their recommendation of “degender language for all maternity service users is inconsistent with current evidence and guidance.”
Warning Streeter of a “danger” in introducing activist groups “without sufficient clinical experience,” the letter says the training plan is “disproportionate” and could have ‘real implications’ for mothers.
‘No clinical credibility’
The group, which includes senior midwives and consultant psychiatrists, added: “The current estimate of the prevalence of trans and non-binary maternity service users is at most one in 2000, therefore most midwives will not attend a trans or non-binary person. during her career.
“This raises the question of time and cost effectiveness of training without clinical credibility that we don’t see being considered in the tender as it is.”
The row comes after a growing backlash over the endorsement of some NHS bodies terminology such as “breastfeeding”“human milk” and “people who bleed”, to be trans-inclusive.
The NHS’s “invitation to quote” document for maternity training, which is only open for less than a month, uses the term “people giving birth” nine times.
NHS England has been contacted for comment.